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A little gender experiment confirms that Reddit is full of douchebags

Now that's what I call a bridegroom.

So someone on Reddit did a little experiment that confirmed what we already know: that Reddit is overflowing with misogynist douchebags. Here’s the experimenter explaining her somewhat casual experimental protocol:

I noticed after two months as my female username I was constantly having to defend my opinions. I mean constantly. I would post something lighthearted, and have people commenting taking my comment literally and telling me I was dumb or I didn’t understand xyz. People were so eager to talk incredibly rudely and condescendingly to me. People were downright hateful and it made me consider leaving.

Then I decided to experiment with usernames and came up with an obviously male name. While people still disagreed with me which is to be expected, I had more people come to my defense when I had a different opinion and absolutely no hateful or condescending comments. I am completely shocked at how different I am treated since having a male username. I am not saying Reddit is sexist, well kind of yes, but I think it’s really interesting and thought that some other girls on here would want to get male usernames and see the difference for themselves.

She posted this in TwoXChromosomes, a subreddit devoted to women and women’s issues that is regularly overrun with angry MRA dudes and an assortment of FemRAs. This time the MRA squad didn’t take over the discussion, and numerous 2XCers reported experiences similar to that of the OP.

earthpeesfire noted:

I had a feminine user name years ago. Fuck that. It was like having a target on my back.

cantstopthe tried to duplicate the experiment on a smaller scale:

Just wanted to say that I made an alt yesterday with a female name, and continue to post the kind of things I normally post under this account. And today I was told I should be raped.

That has NEVER happened in all my 4 years of being on this site with various neutral names.

misscastaway also tried posting with a clearly female name:

I just tried posting on an discussion from this account. Immediately an insult including the word cunt and remarks on how I’m making a fool out of myself.

Might be a coincidence but when posting from my regular account (which is very gender neutral) that I use for discussions related to science, fitness, books etc I have never received this kind of behaviour. Not even when it turned out someone knew more about the subject and I was wrong/short in my knowledge. Then I was given another point of view, with a source – that was it.

I guess I’ll keep using those accounts in parallel now just to see if this was just by chance or if it really makes such a difference.

fatchick400 reported on the results of a similar experiment:

I created this account a few days ago to comment on some fat-hate, and have actually found it really interesting to see reddit from a different point of view.

The biggest surprise for me is the difference in how fat women are treated vs fat men. There is so much more hatred towards the fat women. A lot of people even refer to these women as “it”, completely negating their gender all together.

Meanwhile in the posts about fat men there are a few hateful comments, but they’re mostly full of light hearted jokes. In a few posts where the guys were obviously morbidly obese, barely anyone commented on the guys’ weight at all. Yet in posts with woman who are maybe 200lbs , mocking her weight always seems to be the main focus of conversation.

twofish added her experience to the pile of anecdotal evidence:

Most people on reddit assume I am male until I make it a point to say otherwise. More often than not, once it’s discovered that I own a vagina I’m no longer taken seriously, my opinions are belittled, and a slough of sexist and misogynist jokes/accusations get thrown my way.

I love Reddit for many reasons but it is one of THE most hostile places on the internet to be a woman.

Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, meanwhile, the locals largely dismissed the experiment as unscientific and biased. As DavidByron put it:

Just seems like someone who set out to “prove” her own biases. She was biased to begin with, she ran the “experiment” in a biased way, interpreted the results in a biased way and then presented them to support her initial assumptions.

It’s the usual princess feminism which says men have it easy and women have it hard even while the exact opposite is happening. Why wouldn’t she say which usernames she used in her “test” so others can look at her methodology? Of course it’s not serious but then that’s the point.

Others explained that they weren’t really sexist because they’re such earnest fanboys of GirlWritesWhat, a woman who is able to bypass the usual MRA misogyny by pandering to the misogynists’ fantasy of male martyrdom.

The woman who posted about the experiment in the first place has now popped in to the r/menrights thread, and has (very politely) suggested to Mr. Byron that he try the experiment himself. I guess we’ll see what happens.

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kittehserf
9 years ago

Exactly.

bob@hotmail.com
8 years ago

Last I heard this girls reddit accounts were exhumed and she was lying about all of this.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Seriously, just on principle, I don’t believe anyone with a hotmail account.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Also, had “this girl’s” Reddit accounts been inhumed? How does that work, exactly?

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

The only thing that would make it less believable would be an AOL account. I have one client who still uses AOL, and his emails are always eyeroll inducing (not just for that, but it doesn’t help).

vaiyt
8 years ago

Yes, Hotmail is still a thing. I’m glad to know I’m not taken seriously here, though.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Sorry, vaiyt — I was just being silly. But I’m still not taking Bob seriously.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

cloudiah – I think zie meant “exhumed”, but that still makes no sense. How do you “exhume” a Reddit account? Do you break into Reddit’s servers and take out the physical memory which contains a certain person’s account and post history?

kittehserf
8 years ago

Isn’t inhumation how the Assassins’ Guild describes bumping off their victims? Or am I mixing them up with someone else?

Acid Kritana
10 months ago

I’m going to do this study myself – and keep it scientific. I will create usernames, have people see if they think the person is male or female, and build off of that. I will create several of each gender, and even some for nonbinary and transgender. Then I will create a host of comments and sayings and see how people react differently, and also use this study offline.

That’s how you do a scientific study – you cannot do one by not even publishing the results, how you did it, and what responses you got. Furthermore, you must grade said responses. And then you must take into account the fact that many people may not read usernames, or that they may not read the OP’s username and just what they said.

There are too many factors for her “study” to scientifically be considered a study. If she did those (like I shall), then her study would be much more believable. It also becomes legitimate, as long as there are no problems with it, and would successfully add onto the discussion.

And while I certainly will publish this study, other people are also welcome to try it out, or even to try out how I do it and see if they get the same results. Afterall, we would be adding onto science, would we not?

Acid Kritana
10 months ago

Also, isn’t the Two XX chromosome subreddit transphobic?

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
10 months ago

“I’m going to do this study myself – and keep it scientific. I will create usernames, have people see if they think the person is male or female, and build off of that. I will create several of each gender, and even some for nonbinary and transgender.”

No way would people remember any of your usernames and what gender you identified as.

Also, no way is this what trolls do every day.

“I certainly will publish this study”

At eighteen, you certainly have all the credentials needed to publish in a respected, peer-reviewed (by your fellow PhDs) journal.

Acid Kritana
10 months ago

@Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)says:

> “I’m going to do this study myself – and keep it scientific. I will create usernames, have people see if they think the person is male or female, and build off of that. I will create several of each gender, and even some for nonbinary and transgender.”
>
> No way would people remember any of your usernames and what gender you identified as.

Imagine the existence of keeping a list.

>Also, no way is this what trolls do every day.

What do you mean?

> “I certainly will publish this study”
>
> At eighteen, you certainly have all the credentials needed to publish in a respected, peer-reviewed (by your fellow PhDs) journal.

First off, almost 18 (less than 6 days away), second off, did I say I was going to right now? Where did I say that? No where. Third off, a study like that would take time to complete.

Also, peer-reviewed journals or researchers could try out it themselves (after I publish it), to see what results they get in contrast.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
10 months ago

@Acid Kritana

“No way would people remember any of your usernames and what gender you identified as.”

“Imagine the existence of keeping a list.”

Yes, I did imagine you keeping a list, a written one. Also imagined: the people reading your comments keeping a written list of your various names (and gender identities), or at least some of them. More likely is that they would remember one or more of the names (and gender identities). No written list would be required.

So you testing the names — Is Roger a male, female, nonbinary, or trans username? — before you comment using those names is not science. It is most emphatically not science.

***************

“Also, no way is this what trolls do every day.”

“What do you mean?”

You seemed to understand in my immediately preceding thought that “no way” was sarcasm. Here, you seemed to forget that knowledge.

I will be more clear: Trolls adopt various usernames and identities (age, gender, race, and so on) in an attempt to trick readers. Trolls do this every day.

***********

“I certainly will publish this study”

“At eighteen, you certainly have all the credentials needed to publish in a respected, peer-reviewed (by your fellow PhDs) journal.”

“First off, almost 18 (less than 6 days away), second off, did I say I was going to right now? Where did I say that? No where. Third off, a study like that would take time to complete.

“Also, peer-reviewed journals or researchers could try out it themselves (after I publish it), to see what results they get in contrast.”

And still no mention that you would get a PhD before you published the results in a peer-reviewed journal. But then again, you didn’t say you wouldn’t — so your readers are free to imagine how you will pursue this study.

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